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TVNZ opens up closed captioning for streamers

TVNZ opens up closed captioning for streamers - as growing numbers of NZers watch with words

Increasing numbers of New Zealanders are choosing to stream their favourite shows with captions on – not just in living rooms, but also in the nation’s gyms, buses and cafes. From tonight, Shortland Street will be among the hit TV shows people can watch with words whatever the viewing environment, with TVNZ becoming the first New Zealand video streaming service to bring closed captioning to its online platform.

Captions will be available for new episodes of Shortland Street on TVNZ OnDemand as part of a pilot programme with TVNZ’s accessibility partner Able. Able produce captioning across New Zealand broadcast channels (including 100% of TVNZ 1 and 2’s primetime programming).

Captioning will be extended to TVNZ’s streamed entertainment programming in the coming months, says TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick, bringing the platform in line with captioning provided in the broadcast TV space.

“Our viewers want greater choice and control over how and where they watch and this is a big step towards making our content more universally accessible,” he says. “We’ve started with Shortland Street as it’s our most popular show OnDemand with a million streams a month. Before the year’s out, viewers can expect hit shows like Home & Away, Coronation Street, Police Ten 7 and Country Calendar will have captions available on TVNZ OnDemand just like they do on broadcast TV.”

The latest NZ on Air research shows that one in five New Zealanders used captioning while watching TV in 2018, compared to one in ten in 2014.* As well as being important for deaf and hard of hearing viewers, captioning is also invaluable for sound-sensitive environments like offices and public transport, and for viewers with English as a second language.

Wendy Youens Chief Executive of Able says: “This is a fantastic development for media accessibility in New Zealand. Able is passionate about making media accessible, and we’re delighted to be working with TVNZ to make their OnDemand content accessible to those who need or want captions. We’re excited to be extending the services we provide for broadcast television to online audiences.”

Captioning will be supported on 75% of TVNZ OnDemand enabled devices and endpoints, extending to web (desktops), iOs and Android mobile apps. To access captions, viewers will simply need to press the double ‘c’ symbol located on the bottom right hand corner of the playing window.

Tonight's episode of Shortland Street will be available to watch with captions on TVNZ OnDemand shortly after it airs on TVNZ 2.

*NZ On Air Where Are the Audiences? 2018 research

Note to editors

Captioning is supported on the following devices:

• Android devices operating Android 4 and above

• Apple devices operating iOS 9 and above

• Internet Explorer 11 and above (on desktop devices)

• The latest Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Firefox browsers (on desktop devices)


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